following are some excerpts from my journal that give an idea of what
living in our new home was like during the first week. This
article is long, so if you don’t want to read it all, that’s perfectly
understandable. (You might want to search on “puppy” or “Canela”,
though.) Also, "home tour" videos are provided at the end if
Lunes, 31 de enero, 2011
Isabel y Canela
The workers were supposed to show up at 7:00 a.m., so Marilyn and I got
up at 5:30 a.m. We got dressed, though it was a little complicated. The
sink in our bathroom worked, but not the toilet. The toilet in Isabel
and Victoria’s bathroom (the other bathroom near our room) worked, but
not the sink. It would have been more complicated if Victoria and
Isabel hadn’t slept upstairs.
There was nothing to eat in the house, so we all had some hot tea. Sure
enough, the workers started coming at 7:00 a.m., or thereabouts. Today
they were mainly working on the cocina
(kitchen) and widening the walkway in the
back for me. They also started my ramp at the back door and painted
Isabel and Victoria’s room some more. Oh, yes. We also got a working
toilet in our bathroom!
Today we paid for a new hot water heater. It kind of made me angry
because they didn’t consult us before replacing it. Luckily, we had
priced them previously and knew that we were not overcharged.
After Marilyn and Isabel had gone to the grocery, we had a more normal
breakfast of eggs, pan
(bread), avena (oatmeal),
coffee, and hot
chocolate. During the morning, Marilyn and Isabel worked on trying to
put some order into the house. Elvis worked on fixing up his room
upstairs. Isabel didn’t send eight-year-old Brayan to school today
because they couldn’t find his school uniform, so he mostly had fun. I
worked at the computer.
For lunch, we went to Luz and Cesar’s restaurant (Cesar is one of
Isabel’s brothers and Luz is his wife), which Marilyn and I hadn’t
known about, because our cocina
is not working yet. Their
restaurant is at the bus terminal, so they catch a lot of travelers.
It’s a pretty valuable spot. Luz works at the restaurant and Cesar
works at a small ferreteria
(hardware store) they own. At first, Luz said, “No hay
comida,” (“There is no more food,”) but she was joking. The six
had no sooner sat down at the outdoor restaurant than our plate lunches
were served. They call it fast food, but that’s only because it’s
always ready since only one dish is offered each day. Our
“fast food” consisted of rice, potatoes, salad, avocado, and hamburger
meat. Oh, and a mug of juice. After the meal, Marilyn asked Isabel how
much it cost and she said, “No
sé.” (“I don’t know.”) The next
time Luz came out, Marilyn asked her. “Cien
dolares,” (“One hundred
thousand dollars,”) Luz said. The six of us ate free. She had probably
heard from Isabel that our cocina
wasn’t working yet. That’s how
generous many people are here.
Martes, primero de febrero, 2011
Brayan went to school today. Isabel has arranged a ride for him.
They pretty much finished with the kitchen so we can use that now.
Every room downstairs has work left, some more than others. We were
able to start moving things into the comedor
They painted the study, so I read all day rather than tried to work. My
ramp at the back was also finished. Marilyn pushed me right out there,
but I left tracks because it wasn’t quite dry. I told Marilyn we should
all write our names in the concrete, but she wouldn’t hear of it. At
least, I got my "signature" in it.
Miércoles, 2 de febrero, 2011
We bought two chests of drawers today, so now we can put away our
Daniela wanted $800 of the $1,825 we still owe her to pay the workers.
She said the bathroom doors we want would cost $200 each and wouldn’t
be ready for fifteen days. Isabel talked them down to $140 each, but
it’ll still take fifteen days (NOTE: We actually got them in nine
days.). It’s good to have someone around who
knows what things should cost. Every time Isabel goes to the mercado
(market) with me she bargains much lower than I would, or even could.
often a higher price charged to foreigners than to natives.
Jueves, 3 de febrero, 2011
The workers pretty much finished with the inside remodeling yesterday,
so the unpacking process should go faster. They’re still working on our
bathroom, though, and neither our bathroom nor Isabel and Victoria’s
bathroom has a door.
Marilyn brought home a puppy, about six months old, from
Caluquí this morning that was given to her. She’s cute. We were
going to let Brayan name her, but
Isabel liked the name Canela and Brayan agreed. So, Canela (cinnamon)
became her name because of her color. She was pretty traumatized by the
ride and then the bath Marilyn gave her, so she curled up by my feet
and stayed with me in the study all afternoon.
Yolanda, Isabel’s sister, and Margola, a sister-in-law, came over.
They, especially Margola, sat and talked for most of the afternoon.
They also asked us to buy them shoes (with their money) when we go back
to the States. We will if it doesn’t create too much of a space problem.
Viernes, 4 de febrero, 2011
The workers finished painting the outside of the house today. On
Monday, they’ll come back and finish painting the central courtyard, as
well as repaint our bathroom. They sanded down some old artwork on our
bathroom walls today that made the first paint job lumpy.
The maestro (tradesman) who
will make our bathroom doors came over
today to measure. We gave him half the money today and will fork over
the other half when the doors arrive.
Daniela, the arquitecta,
called wanting the rest of her money and
Isabel reminded her that the contract said we’d make the final payment
at the completion of the job. It should be completed on Monday or
Tuesday (except for the bathroom doors, which are separate).
Auri, a very good friend of Isabel’s and now a hiking buddy of
over for a visit. Again, we sat and talked for a pretty long while.
Sábado, 5 de febrero, 2011
Lucila and Natasha came over this morning not long after breakfast.
Natasha is our ajihada
(goddaughter). Elias, Lucila’s husband, grows
strawberries, and they brought an overfilled bucket to us. Isabel says
it’s traditional to give the “first fruits” of a harvest to padrinos (godparents).
Not long after they left, Blanca and Luis came. They brought gifts for
each of us, and the house. They also brought a bit of bad news. Our
visas aren’t ready. We were told that I could get a visa as a dependent
of Marilyn. But now they say we need a marriage certificate for that.
The upshot was that we gave Blanca another $200 to get me a separate
visa if that’s what it takes. This is only a six-month visa – not the
permanent one we want. For that we need more documents from the U. S.,
like our birth certificates. (NOTE: Blanca was able to get our visas
Monday without paying another $200.)
We talked FEDICE business for a while. Marilyn asked Isabel to relate
what Lucila had told us this morning about the new foundation that’s
providing food for the children and salaries for the employees at the
daycare center because Marilyn didn’t think she would translate it
correctly. The new foundation is giving the children less and poorer
quality food, restricting the children who can eat it, paying the
teachers and cook less, and requiring more reports. Also, Isabel said
that if one receipt in a submitted batch is found to be bad, then they
are not reimbursed for the entire batch. We’ve learned that a
“foundation” here is actually a part of the government, not independent
like in the U. S.
The day was bright and sunny, so we went outside. Elvis had laid out a
volleyball court in the backyard, so he, Blanca, Luis, Brayan, and
Marilyn played. I kept score. Canela was the mascot, sometimes getting
in the way and being dragged off the court.
Domingo, 6 de febrero, 2011
Isabel, Victoria, and Brayan went to mass at Brayan’s school this
morning. When they got back, Marilyn was making pancakes and Elvis was
up. We all sat down and had some great pancakes. Marilyn had even
picked (illegally) figs from a neighbor’s tree and made jam from them
that was really excellent.
The electricity went out about 10:30 a.m. The Super Bowl was scheduled
to start at 6:00 p.m., so I hoped the electricity would be back on by
then. A constant refrain throughout the day became, “¡No hay
luz!” (“There are no lights!”)
Luz, Cesar, and Maria Augusta came over for almuerzo (lunch) and
brought Romeo, their puppy, so he could get to know Canela. The dogs
got along alright, but didn’t really play together.
Marilyn made roasted tomatoes, chickpeas, and spaghetti for lunch. We
also had strawberries and cream, as well as a sort of apple crisp with
oatmeal and raisins. It was different fare for most people, but there
were few dirty plates afterward.
After lunch, Cesar thanked us for deciding to live with Isabel’s
family. He called Marilyn an angelita
and me an angelito. Marilyn
assured him that Victoria, Isabel, Elvis, and Brayan were also gifts to
us from God. She’s right about that.
We sat in the sala (living
room) after almuerzo for
visiting. It was the first time we had had a chance to use the
Alfredo (Isabel's eldest brother) had given to her. Before Cesar and
family left, we lit a fire in the fireplace for the first time. I
remarked to Marilyn that now we would find out about other problems
with the house.
We kept the fire going after Cesar and family left. The fireplace opens
both to the sala and the comedor (dining room). We were
the amount of heat radiated into the sala.
still out, 2) we were full and warm, and 3) we didn’t have anything
to do, we were content to stay by the fire, talk with each other, and
play with Canela. At one point, Elvis commented, “Un momento de
familia.” (“A family moment.”) He was so right. They consider us
members, and we consider them family members.
Later, we discovered one problem with the fireplace. Where it opened to
the comedor, soot stained the
wall. Oh, well, I guess we’ll just have
to live with that problem. The paint is not very durable here, so
scrubbing it is not a viable option.
By 7:00 p.m., we had lit a candle because it was getting dark. I had
given up on the electricity coming back on and was even thinking of
going to bed. Flash! The lights came back on. Elvis jumped up and
pushed me to the study where we could watch the Super Bowl on DirecTV.
It was fun to watch it with Elvis and explain some of the rules to him.
I even pulled for the right team. Go Packers!
And so, though chaotic, the first week in our Ecuadorian home came to a
our arquitecta, called this
morning and said it was not possible to move into the house today. It
would have been possible for us to stay at the hotel a few more days,
but Isabel’s lease was up the next day. Besides, all the help had
already been arranged. Marilyn called back and said we were moving. We
needed both downstairs bedrooms and one downstairs bathroom to be
livable. It would be good if the kitchen worked also.
Yolanda, wife of the hotel manager, said goodbye to us at breakfast and
that she’d miss us. We thanked her for all the help she and Don Jairo,
the hotel manager, had given us during our eleven-month stay, and for
taking us along on the trip to Intag. Benicio, Carmela, Rosario, and
Eddy also said goodbye. Benicio said that it was bad that we were
leaving. Marilyn joked that they’d be getting less money, but I think
he was trying to say that he would miss us, too, or maybe the hotel
wouldn’t be quite the same without us.
At 11:00 a.m., Marilyn and Isabel went over to clean the house,
primarily the bedrooms. They would clean the kitchen, too, if they had
Tocayo, his son, and Pilar’s sons came to the hotel a little after 2:00
p.m. with a truck. It didn’t take them long to collect what we had. The
truck seemed so big that I figured it would only take two trips to get
everything Isabel had. We decided I would stay at the hotel and read on
the veranda until Marilyn got our stuff moved in. It was a beautiful
day and I could enjoy the view of the hotel grounds one more time.
Marilyn put things in the car that she didn’t want put in the truck.
Marcello, Viviana, and David showed up to help just as the truck was
finished being loaded. They rode to the new house on the truck. It was
great fun for 5-year-old David.
A short while later, Marilyn and Marcello’s family came back to get me
and take me to our new home. Shortly after we arrived, Tocayo showed up
with the first load of Isabel’s things. I stayed in the driveway and
watched them unload. It was quite interesting to see how efficiently
they did everything with only human power. No hand trucks for them.
When they were ready to go back for more, I asked Marilyn to put me in
the house because it was beginning to cloud over and cool down. (Good
thing, because later I couldn’t have gotten to our bedroom from the
While everyone was gone, I had a chance to push all around downstairs.
A lot was left to do, but the house was livable. It’s just that it
wouldn’t be a lot of fun living in it while the workers finished up.
What had been done so far looked like good quality work.
I ended my ramblings on the front porch looking at the front yard and
Imbabura. I guess I was surveying my domain. I saw the humming bird I
had seen when I had been to the house before. There are many plants in
the front yard that it likes, but one in particular. I also saw doves
and sparrows flying about. I think the variety of birds will be greater
here than at the Ally Micuy Hacienda. I’ve seen flocks of water birds
passing here before.
When the movers got back, I moved into the office to stay out of the
way. Three of Elvis’ friends were helping at that point. I watched them
bring in piece after piece of furniture. Most of it went upstairs. When
they left for more, I went back to my perch on the porch.
All in all, they made five trips to Isabel’s to get the family’s stuff,
and finished way after dark. I was way off in my estimate of how long
it would take. I couldn’t believe how many things had been crammed into
Isabel’s apartment. But, then, some of the chaos was do to the fact
that we couldn’t put some furniture into the room in which it belonged
because some rooms were not ready yet.
We decided to have pizza for dinner. I’ll bet thousands of people who
move to different houses have that same First Supper. When Marilyn went
to get the pizza, she dropped Elvis and his buddies downtown. Brayan
went with them. He didn’t like the idea of pizza anyhow – Brayan
doesn’t like cheese. So Isabel, Victoria, Marilyn, and I had the pizza
all to ourselves, and it was good.
After we ate, we started thinking about bed, as it was after 9:00 p.m.
Isabel and Marilyn found the pieces of our bed and started putting it
together. The boys were still not home, so Isabel called and told
(asked?) them to come back and help. They must have been on their way,
for they got here within a few minutes and Elvis helped finish putting
the beds together.
Isabel and Victoria’s room was not painted yet, so they slept upstairs
with Brayan in his bedroom – fortunately there was enough room for two
double beds. We found Marilyn’s pajamas and some toiletries and were
able to go to bed ourselves. We were both tired, but neither of us
could get to sleep for a while. Maybe it was the excitement of finally
being in our own house in Ecuador. I could see out of a crack at the
side of the curtain. It was cloudy, with the light of Otavalo
illuminating the low clouds. There was also a tall eucalyptus tree not
too far off. It wasn’t until we switched sides that we were able to
fall soundly asleep.
You could be the proud owner of this great VW
found the house we wanted in Ecuador and now it was time to take care
of some minor details before actually buying it, such as arranging to
sell our Pflugerville home; store, give away, or sell its remaining
contents; and sell our car.
We went to the U. S. in November for a visit and found that our first
task, selling the Pflugerville house, would be easy. Darrell and Linda
Laurence, who had been living in our house while we went off to Ecuador
for what we had expected to be a year, fell in love with our house. If
we wanted to sell it, they would buy it. It would be a win for both of
us, because we wouldn’t have to go through a real estate broker. We
decided to do the deal when we returned for another stateside visit in
We’re not too shy about getting rid of possessions, and we decided we’d
also do that in February. The few things of sentimental value that we’d
like to keep could be stored at my brother’s or in the house where they
are currently located. Both David and Lynn, and Linda and Darrell, were
kind enough to offer that storage to us.
When we got back to Ecuador, we started working on the house
immediately. We had an architect do an inspection, and the house
passed. However, the inspection was no good because the architect we
chose was a friend of Tatiana’s, the owner of the house. The lawyer we
subsequently hired to help us through the process said that he would
take care of the inspection (he never did). I think he was also a
friend of Tatiana’s, or at least her divorced husband. It’s hard not to
know everyone in a town of 50,000 people, especially if you’re in the
Front of the house
Back of the house
A big backyard
We started the buying process in earnest December 1st, hoping to be in
the house before Christmas. That hope was soon extinguished. Tatiana
and her ex-husband got into a disagreement at the first meeting about
who owned what. More than that, however, the bureaucracy is very slow.
What with the long Christmas holidays upcoming, we couldn’t get a
closing date before January 14th.
At the second meeting the next day we wrote Tatiana a check for $4,000
(to be deducted from the selling price) so she could satisfy a bank
lien. That wasn’t what bothered me most, however. That same day Marilyn
had to sign a compraventa, a
contract to buy. Instead of the 10% back
out penalty I had expected, the penalty was $30,000. It applied to both
parties, but we knew Tatiana was all but broke. (Otherwise, she
wouldn’t have needed our $4,000.) Therefore, if we had had to back out
for any reason, we’d be on the hook for $30,000. However, if the owner
backed out, it was unlikely we’d see any of that penalty money. We had
a chance to discuss it beforehand and decided to go ahead with the
There were not too many times we had a chance to discuss things before
Marilyn had to sign on the dotted line. This was because the places for
meetings were almost always upstairs. You could say Marilyn went
through this process alone. It was stressful on her trying to
understand everything, much more so because it was in Spanish
On January 3rd, Tatiana gave us the keys to the house, though we
wouldn’t close until the 14th. She had already moved out and we could
start the renovations.
On January 7th, a week before the closing, Blanca and Sebastian, whom
we work with, had offered to do a minga
to get our house painted. A
minga is what they call it
here when a group of people get together to
work on a project for the common good. I didn’t know if painting our
house would be for “common good”, but we appreciated the offer. We also
knew that they wanted to help because they appreciated Marilyn’s
volunteer efforts. We arranged for Sebastion to visit the house the
next day so he could determine the scope of the project.
We had hired an architect to determine what needed to be done to
renovate the house according to our wishes. After Isabel got off work,
we went to see what her findings were. She found a lot more things than
we had seen. We had broken things down into two projects. The
presupuesta (budget) for the
first came to about $5,300. We would get the
presupuesta for the next
project the next day. Seeing how complicated
the job was, we decided it would be better to have professional
who could work everyday do it so we could move in as soon as possible.
As much as we had liked the idea and appreciated the offer, we called
Sebastion that night and canceled the minga.
Some of our friends who had found out that we were buying a house in
Ecuador called us brave. To an extent, that may be true. Ecuador is not
exactly a magnet for investment. Things could go wrong. But it may be
truer to say that we’re a little stubborn. We tend to identify things
we want to happen in our lives and then go about finding ways to make
them reality. If we hit roadblocks, we often find ways around
Ecuador has more roadblocks then you can shake a stick at.
On January 9th, we went to Isabel’s for Elvis’s cumpleaños (birthday) and
had cake, hors d’oeuvres, hot chocolate, and tea. We looked at things
to move and thought about where they might go. They also showed us the
bed Isabel is letting us use and it looked like it would work fine.
Victoria and Isabel
Victoria wanted to know if there was a possibility that we’d get mad at
the family and tell them they had to leave. That possibility may have
all of Isabel’s family members’ minds, but Victoria was the first
person brave enough to voice it. We all agreed to have weekly meetings
so we could keep lines of communication open and nip any problems in
On the 10th, the arquitecta
called while we were eating breakfast at
9:00 a.m. and asked why Marilyn was not at the house to open it for the
workers. We both knew that she had said 10:00 a.m., but, oh well.
Marilyn got over there as quickly as possible and stayed until the
contractor the arquitecta had
hired went over everything. She learned
he would do more than anticipated, like caulk the windows and fix an
additional leak the arquitecta
We were thinking about installing an electric fence around the property
but decided it wouldn’t be worth the danger. Motion detectors would be
set off by birds and things, so we decided to go with just the
perimeter walls already there. The windows all have grill work on them
and the outside doors have multiple locks. They take their security
seriously down here. Yet, it would be child’s play to break into any of
the rooms at the hotel where we are staying. Go figure.
On the 11th, we closed, three days ahead of schedule. It was one hectic
day. At 8:45 a.m., Marilyn picked up Isabel. Then they went to the
office of our abogado
(lawyer). Then they went to the bank to get some cash.
Then they went to the municipio
(city offices) to register some papers. Then they
picked me up and we went to the casa
(house). Then we went to Ibarra to buy
light fixtures. Then we had lunch at Isabel’s. Then Marilyn and Isabel
went to the bienes raices
(real estate agency) to close on the house. Then Marilyn went to
her English class in Cachimuel. Whew! That was a tight schedule,
especially for Ecuador - land of mañana.
There was a lot of work left to do before we moved in on January 30th.
In fact, we lived in a construction zone for a week and a half after
the move. But, we were happy.
six or seven months of living in a hotel, we began to get tired of
eating the same meals week after week. True, we could have eaten out
more, but there were two reasons why we hesitated to do that. First,
our stomachs (especially mine) were still not acclimated to a lot of
foods in Ecuador. The foods many Ecuadorians enjoyed sometimes caused
us distress. The main reason for this was that the water used to
prepare foods could not always be depended upon to be pure. The second
reason we didn’t eat out much was because we both could be called
frugal (a polite word for ”tight”). We were paying the hotel for three
meals a day. Why should we spend extra money eating out?
Marilyn also liked to cook. She hadn’t been able to do that since we’d
been here and missed it.
We had begun taking walks in a nearby neighborhood by this time. It had
been about three quarters built out, so there were many lots still
available. Every time we’d walk by one that had a decent view of
Imbabura, my favorite volcano around here, I’d say, “We could build a
house here.” In the beginning, Marilyn was totally opposed to that
idea. However, as we began to think more and more about staying here
for multiple years instead of just one, she became more enthusiastic
about looking at possible lots.
We decided that, if we moved to a house, we would rather live with an
Ecuadorian family than by ourselves. The situation at the hotel had
been good because we were both forced to talk to Spanish-speaking
people everyday. We wanted that to continue. Plus, an Ecuadorian family
could help us better navigate Ecuadorian culture and law. We had become
very good friends with Isabel, the hotel’s receptionist (really
assistant manager), and her family. So we decided to approach them
first. If we lived with them, it would mean that we would need at least
two bedrooms downstairs – something hard to find in Otavalo.
I suggested one day that we find something appropriate that we could
build or buy before we asked them. Marilyn agreed, but then she
broached the subject with Isabel the same day. Isabel loved the idea.
They would get to live with us rent-free, her 86-year-old mother would
have more freedom because she wouldn’t have to climb steps anymore, and
someone would be with her mother practically all the time. Plus, if she
could quit the hotel in the future, she could spend more time with her
The secret that we were looking at land soon got out around the hotel.
In September, the owner of the hotel who lives in California was here
for an extended period of time to take care of some business. When she
heard we were looking at land, she said she knew of something out in
the country she could show us. We weren’t really interested in living
outside the city, but agreed to go out of politeness.
The land in question was really a good bit of acreage adjacent to a
farm. It had three houses and an orchard on it and was really pretty,
despite not having a view of Imbabura. If we had wanted to live in the
country, it would have been ideal except for the houses, which needed a
lot of work. The man who tends the farm next door (and is a friend of
the hotel owner) said he would rent the orchard from us (which is
probably why we were shown the property in the first place).
The hotel owner also took us to another hotel near the property we
looked at and showed us the accommodations there. This seemed pretty
strange to us. Why would she be showing us another hotel? If we moved
there, it would be like taking bread out of her mouth. Could it be that
we caused too much work for the staff? I doubted it, because the hotel
staff hardly ever showed an averseness to hard work. Besides, they had
always been very warm towards us. Could it simply have been that the
hotel owner was merely being hospitable and trying to help us find what
she thought we wanted?
We decided that we would stay an additional five years in Ecuador
provided we could find a suitable place to live. But first we needed to
find out how our closest relatives felt about that, so we emailed them.
They were okay with it, especially when we told them that, because of
the lower cost of living, we could afford to visit three times a year.
We could also get to the States on short notice in case of emergency.
Emotionally, Marilyn’s mom felt that we’d be living too far away, but
logically she knew that we really wouldn’t see her any less than we had
seen her when we lived in Texas.
Most of the properties in Ecuadorian cities have peripheral walls
around them, even when there are no houses. When a property is for
sale, the number to call is usually spray painted on these walls. One
day we called the number advertised for a lot we liked. It was the
number for a real estate agency. They said that lot was sold, but
arranged to take Marilyn to look at some houses. We had heretofore only
looked at lots, with the intention of building what we needed, but why
not get an idea of what things cost?
Marilyn was taken to three houses and one lot. Only one house was close
to being appropriate. But she didn’t get to that house until after
dark, so it was difficult to determine if it really did meet our needs.
After looking at other properties with a different agency and finding
nothing appropriate, Marilyn made an appointment to look at this last
house again, this time with me and Isabel, and in the daylight.
I liked it almost immediately. It had a Spanish style of architecture
with a tiled roof instead of the boxy look of most homes being built in
Otavalo today. It had four bedrooms, two downstairs (required). It had
a yard (required). It had a good view of Imbabura from the study
(required). It had a large yard for growing things and playing ball
(required). It had a bottom floor that was all on one level (required –
many houses here are split level). It had a place where Victoria could
raise chickens (desired). It wasn’t too far to walk to downtown – if
you like to walk like Marilyn does (desired). It was affordable
(required). I decided that if we didn’t find anything better, this
house might be a good bet.
This was my fanciest plan.
We continued to look, being open to building, buying, or renting. In
fact, every time we saw a lot that we liked, I’d go back to the hotel
and design a house to fit that lot. The second agency with which we
worked put us in touch with a U.S. citizen who kind of worked with
them. He was kind of a strange duck from New York and, I believe,
somewhere in the Midwest. He did things to make money like take groups
of people to look at houses or drop off and pick up people at the Quito
airport. He, like so many others, tried to steer us to an ex-patriot
community in Cotacachi. We told him, as we had told others, that we
would have stayed home if we wanted to live among U.S. citizens.
Last, we talked with Isabel again to make sure that she and her family
really wanted to move in with us. Then we told the owner of the house
we liked that we would buy it after we went back to the U.S. in
November and wired money down here. She said that someone else was
interested, also a U.S. citizen. We simply said, "Fine. If it’s
available in November we’ll make an offer." It was available in
November. (She’d overplayed her hand when she’d said the other
interested party was from the U.S. The chances of that were very slim,
so I wasn’t really worried about someone “beating us out”.) In
November, she was willing to take $5,000 off the price, and we struck a